If you have children, there will come a time when they will want a puppy. Choosing to add a dog to your family is a fantastic idea, particularly for children, because it teaches them a lot about caring for others and loyalty, and it allows them to build lasting friendships. However, you shouldn’t just pick any dog you come across, particularly if your children are still very young or otherwise not used to dogs. There are a number of steps you should take into consideration before you pick your new four-legged friend.
First of all, you need to do some soul searching. What sort of house do you live? How does your family operate? Will your children help to look after the dog? What kind of behaviour does the breed that you are considering generally exhibit and is that appropriate for your family? How much energy is in your own lifestyle and can you exercise your dog? How much living space is available for the new addition to the family? These are all very important considerations to make.
Pedigree or Not?
Next, you need to start considering the breed in earnest. Do you want a full pedigree, a mixed breed or a mongrel? There are pros and cons to each of these options. For instance, with a full pedigree, you know the dog’s complete history. However, they are more expensive and often have complicated health problems. Mixed breed dogs, on the other hand, are each completely unique, although that also means that it may be more difficult to determine its personality. Different dogs have different temperaments and you need to consider this.
The Breeds and Temperaments
It is now time to really start looking into the different breeds. Take the time to look at the characteristics and temperament of different dogs, but also at what sort of grooming and exercise they need. Don’t simply look at pictures and pick the dog that you think looks the cutest. Dalmatians, for instance, look adorable and are everybody’s favourite dog since The 101 Dalmatians, but they are largely unsuitable for families with small children. You need to find a dog that is friendly for families, which means you need a dog that can be trained, that is affectionate and that, above all, wants to please its owners. Sporting breeds such as gun dogs and hunting dogs are generally the best for this. Do remember, however, the owner of the dog plays a big part in how the dog behaves, and that means even the sweetest dog can become vicious if mal-treated.
Getting Your Puppy
Finally, you are ready to actually go and find your puppy. There is something to be said for going to an animal shelter, as this means you will rescue a dog that would otherwise not get a home, and possibly would get put down. However, the problem with shelter dogs is that you don’t know how they have been treated in the past and how they will respond to your family, even if their breed would class them as “friendly”. Additionally, it is likely that your child will much prefer a puppy.
You must, at all times, make sure you only work with recommended and properly registered kennels if you are to purchase a puppy. This will guarantee that you will purchase a puppy that is healthy and that has been raised properly, meaning it immediately had lots of exposure to other people. Do also make sure you visit your puppy more than once and that the whole family gets to know him or her a little bit before you bring the puppy home. Above all, remember that you have just added someone to your family, and this is an addition for life.